Caption: Accepting the award on behalf of Ron Connelly are his son Shawn Connelly and his daughter RJ Connelly-Lundquist; Mike Stutter; Ben Warnsby; and Rolf Hougen.
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WHITEHORSE—The 2015 Pioneer of the Year, Person of the Year, and Order of Polaris awards were presented last night to inductees and their families at the annual Transportation Hall of Fame Awards ceremony.
“Each year during National Transportation Week the Transportation Hall of Fame pays tribute to individuals who have significantly contributed to Yukon’s transportation industry,” Minister of Highways and Public Works Scott Kent said. “Whether their work was linked to roadways, airways or waterways, these awards honour the hard work, innovation, persistence and frontier spirit of some remarkable individuals and the legacy they created in Yukon.”
The Pioneer of the Year award was presented to Ben Warnsby and Mike Stutter, who operated the Brainstorm Freighting Services from 1961 to 1974. Their riverboat, Brainstorm, carried goods and supplies to Old Crow following approximately 700 miles of the Yukon and Porcupine rivers. It also carried freight on the upper Yukon River.
The Person of the Year award was presented to Rolf Hougen, who was instrumental in the transition of the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad from a carrier of goods to a summer tourist service. He was also involved in protecting and preserving the Casca and Whitehorse sternwheelers. These iconic vessels were destroyed by fire in June 1974.
The Order of Polaris award was presented to the family of the late Ronald (Ron) Connelly. Connelly’s career spanned 50 years as both a fixed-wing and helicopter pilot. He was the hands-on owner and operator of a number of aviation companies, including Connelly-Dawson Airways, Great Northern Airways, Trans North Turbo Air (TNTA) and Conair Ltd. TNTA and Conair still operate today.
The Transportation Hall of Fame, housed within the Yukon Transportation Museum, opened in 1996.
Learn more: Transportation Hall of Fame
Communications, Highways and Public Works